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Eighty Years After Sacco & Vanzetti

It is one of the most notorious trials of the twentieth-century. Two Italian immigrants, admitted anarchists, sentenced to death for their alleged connection to a payroll hold-up and murder in South Braintree.

Tonight marks the 80th anniversary of the execution of Niccola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

The guilt or innocence of the men, and the fairness of their trial is still a matter of debate.

On the 50th anniversary of the execution, then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation in which he said the men weren't given a fair trial. He sought to name August 23rd Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial Day in the Commonwealth.

"Obviously I couldn't posthumanously pardon them," Dukakis says today. "But at least I could issue a gubernatorial proclamation which addressed the issue and set the record straight as I saw it."

The resolution was debated on Beacon Hill before state lawmakers ultimately struck it down.

WBUR's Delores Handy speaks with Bruce Watson, the author of the new book "Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgement of Mankind."

WBUR's Kirk Carapezza and Sarah Bush produced this piece.

This program aired on August 22, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

Delores Handy Twitter Reporter
Delores Handy was formerly a host and reporter at WBUR.

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